How to Style Stringy Hair

Stringy hair may look greasy and lifeless, even if it’s actually clean. Here we’ll talk about what causes stringy hair and how you can style your hair to make it look fuller and healthier.

Causes of stringy hair

Stringy hair is typically fine hair that gets greasy, causing it to clump at the end in what looks like pieces of string. Sometimes curly or wavy hair may also look stringy if it is brushed when it’s dry or damaged from heat styling.

All hair types with damaged ends have the potential to look stringy because split ends can cause the hair strands to separate instead of laying smoothly together.

Most commonly, stringy hair is caused by excess product or oil in the hair. Hair loss can cause hair to look thinner, and therefore also make it look more stringy.

How to style

Styling options for stringy hair will depend on your hair type. Below are some ideas for how to style stringy hair.

Long hair

Long hair may benefit from a trim, which will improve the look of split ends and make hair look less stringy. You can also blow dry hair with your head flipped upside down to make your hair look more voluminous.

Curly hair

Brush curly hair before showering whenever possible. Try not to brush or comb it when it’s wet or after it dries, as this can break apart the curls, causing it to look stringy. You can also wait until hair is about halfway dry to apply products.

Wavy hair

Use lightweight styling products on wavy hair; heavier gels and creams can weigh hair down and cause it to clump and look stringier at the ends. Try a brush with wider bristles.

Just at the ends

You can use a lightweight oil to smooth split ends, which can help hair look less frizzy and stringy at the bottom. You could also try a side part and gather hair to one side or wear it in a side braid.

Ways to fix stringy hair

The good news is that there are ways to fix the appearance of stringy hair.

  • Since it’s typically caused by excess oil, washing hair regularly and using a clarifying shampoo can help reduce oil.
  • Sometimes oily hair can also be caused by certain skin conditions, like psoriasis or eczema, so speak with your dermatologist if you suspect this is the issue.
  • Using argan oil or castor oil can help repair split ends which can help hair look healthier.
  • Getting a haircut can make hair look healthy and fuller.
  • Avoid heat styling regularly.
  • Use conditioner on the ends but not on the scalp, which will make hair more oily.
  • Try a silk pillowcase to protect the hair.

How to prevent stringy hair

The easiest way to stop stringy hair is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some ways you can prevent stringy hair:

  • get regular haircuts
  • wash your hair regularly
  • use a clarifying shampoo to prevent oil and product build-up
  • don’t sleep on wet hair
  • invest in a bristle brush
  • eat a nutrient-rich diet, as some studies show nutritional deficiencies can cause dry, stringy hair

When to talk with a pro

If your hair still feels oily and stringy after regular shampooing and switching to a clarifying shampoo, talk to a hair stylist about ways to improve your hair’s appearance. They may recommend a different line of products or have tips on how to wash or style your hair.

If you suspect your hair may be impacted by a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, it’s a good idea to speak with your dermatologist. Always see your doctor if your stringy hair is accompanied by drastic hair loss.

The bottom line

Stringy hair can happen to all hair types, though it most commonly affects people with long, thin, or fine hair. Often, the appearance of stringy hair improves with a haircut or by switching to a clarifying shampoo.

Talk with your doctor if you suspect your stringy hair is caused by a skin condition, like eczema or psoriasis, or if you are experiencing hair loss.

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